Just the Facts on Judge Martin Feldman's Financial Investments

Joe FridayDetailed in this article are the recent oil and gas speculation investments, including investments in deep-sea drilling companies, made by the federal judge who blocked the new deep-sea drilling ruling. I recently called for his impeachment in my comments on the financial disclosure reports of Judge Martin Feldman, who struck down the temporary moratorium on new deep-water oil drilling. I based my comments on the financial disclosure reports that had been provided by the Administrative Office ("AO") of the U.S. Courts, from the Financial Disclosure Office (FDO) of the Article III Judges Division (where I previously served as Deputy Chief). And, I stand by my strong rebuke of the judge.

Judicial Watch (JW) has posted all the financial disclosure reports from 2003 through 2008 on all sitting federal judges, a great public service. The AO received Judge Feldman's financial disclosure report for 2009, but has not made that document public as of the publication date of this note, as the FDO does not affirmatively publish the financial statements of the judges for whom they work, but does share them publicly after an internal review process that can include redactions. In preparation for my story on June 23, I reviewed in detail Judge Feldman's most recent filing that JW had posted, filed in May 2009.

As some of our readers have requested a more detailed recitation of the facts supporting our deep concerns about the appearance of impropriety by the judge, I am happy to provide this in-depth summary of his disclosures from that filing. If you would like to read the forms yourself here is the link.

Here are the highlights (or lowlights, depending on your perspective) of Judge Feldman's earnings in 2008:


  • Judicial salary (excluding benefits and retirement): $169,300
  • Earnings from investments: up to $174,000
  • Due to the way the disclosure form obscures actual amounts, the range of his investment income adds up to between $37,524, if he received the bare minimum at each disclosure threshold, and $174,000, if he received the maximum. The investment earnings constituted between about 20% of his federal salary and over 100% of it.

Oil exploration-related investment income in 2008

In addition, Judge Feldman held investments in Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, among other banks.

It's certainly fair to say that as of his last known financial disclosure report, Judge Feldman was plainly an investor and speculator in oil and gas exploration, including deepwater drilling, and profited from these investments.

Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is President of the Board of the Center for Media and Democracy and President of True North Research. She is a well-known researcher, writer, and public speaker. Her research and analysis have been cited by every major paper in the country and featured in critically acclaimed books and documentaries, including Ava Du Vernay’s award-winning film, “The 13th,” Bill Moyers’s “United States of ALEC,” and Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously.”



Maybe you should change your "Just the facts " to "just chosen facts" to justify your slant on this matter. Most people who invest at Judge Feldman's age use advice along with their own reasoning; most will seek the leader in any industry ergo the list you gave. Oil rigs are leased out years in advance; the lease is usually paid whether the rig is in use or idle. Love your cavalier use of data, An article like this should get you a high position in this government.

Dear Anonymous: I reject your suggestion that my reference to the facts in Judge Feldman's investment portfolio is "cavalier" and "slanted." You also assume facts not in evidence about Judge Feldman's age being the determining factor in his investments. For over two decades he has sat as a judge in a part of the country that has substantial financial interests in the oil industry, with a high probability that those very interests will be at stake in litigation before the court on which he sits. And, then when the industry which enriches him appears before him he does not affirmatively disclose those interests to the parties in the case at hand. And we are to believe that he is not influenced at all by his long history of profitable investments in oil speculation, including deepwater drilling. It is too much. As is your absurd suggestion that my recitation of the facts will win me a governmental post, I neither seek nor desire. If only your skepticism were directed toward where the facts point, a judge who has pre-judged the case before him and is pre-disposed to sympathy toward the industry he has invested in for many years. But, hey, don't let the facts get in the way of your conclusions any time soon and be sure to assert that any facts you do not like are selective. It merely demonstrates how your reasoning and conclusions have likely been honed at the teat of Fox News. And, as for the matter of oil rigs leased out years in advance, it does not make the judge's appearance of partiality stronger or weaker. But, it is an interesting fact. Lisa Graves

Go Lisa! It is not surprising to hear some fool coming to the aid of another public official fattening himself on the backs of the American public. This case is merely the tip of a humongous iceberg of endemic corruption which has become the hallmark of judicial process in this country. And it is simply the reflection of the systemic political immorality facilitated by the so-called two party system of sham government which has destroyed any semblance of democracy in the US. Justice in America is a joke, a very bad joke. This one is just trying to get his piece of the pie. The entire justice department is defunct and the Supreme Court has committed supreme treason with supreme insult. I expect the costs to be supreme as well. I would like to thank the conservatives, the silent majority, the republicans, and the god fearing fools who brought all this about.

Yeah, Martin Feldman and any other judge does have the right to invest in whatever they want to, so long as it is a legal operation (which BP was not, but besides the point). The point is he can invest in whatever he wants to invest in. I don't have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is any judge that thinks it is okay to ignore federal law, policy and codes of conduct! According to the CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT, Martin Feldman has committed a felony, which is being ignored by the entire justice department. A judge or juror are to be withdrawn from any case that they MAY have "conflict of interest". For example, as a juror I was withdrawn from judging a case involving State Farm Insurance, because I had a family member that had a legal issue with them. Certainly if I owed stock in State Farm I would be disqualified also. And this was a very small case for the courts. When there is a HUGE issue, with much conflicting ideas and opinions, such as off shore drilling, ANY ETHICAL JUDGE would kindly withdraw himself. His refusal to withdraw from a case that he has "conflict of interest" is NOT as sign of high ethical standards, in fact, it is a clear sign of "self-interest" rather than showing reverence for the concern of American citizens. What Martin Feldman wants is more important than the concern for true justice --very bad sign for a federal judge!

Well done Lisa Graves. Judge Feldman did not declare his interests and did not step down - greed merchants rule!

Martin Feldman has committed a felony, and no one is doing anything about it. ...maybe they are afraid of losing their job without whistle blowing protection rights. Whatever the case, it is a violation of the CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT. The laws and PETITION OF COMPLAINT are in the link below. PLEASE SIGN! And thank you so much for your article Lisa Graves, I including your facts in my petition, which according to the JUDICIAL COMMISSION the process for making complaints about unethical practices for a judge must be filed with the JUDICIAL COMMISSION "in writing" so I will send them my complaint letter in the form of a petition with many signitures instead of just a letter from myself. PLEASES SIGN THE PETITION "INJUSTICE in the JUSTICE DEPARTMENT" which will be sent the Judicial Commission. THANKS! http://www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/851/930/576

I hope you do not mind that I have copied your research to my petition to get Martin Feldman's wallet out of the judicial system. Of course, I documented it as a resource from this page to make sure it is clear that you deserve the credit for your GREAT WORK. If you have a problem with this, please let me know, and I will edit it out or anyway you prefer. Sincerely, Wendy Wyatt MBA.PSY.Consultant@gmail.com You can check it out at http://environment.change.org/petitions/view/injustice_in_the_justice_department_-martin_feldman